THE ANCIENT MYSTERIES 189
with absolute certitude of immortality, and although he kept the sources of that certitude to himself, he could not help, even unconsciously, communicating some faith in that certitude to his fellow beings. He renewed their hopes and confirmed their faith by the mysterious subconscious telepathy which always passes between men. He no longer believed in death; he believed only in Life—eternal, self-existent, ever-conscious Life. He believed what his hierophant had unveiled to him in the guarded recesses of the temple—that the soul existed, and that it was a ray from the central sun, God, for him. The story of Osiris had acquired a personal meaning. In finding himself reborn he also found Osiris, who was existent within him as his own undying self.
This was the true teaching of Egypt's oldest sacred text, The Book of the Dead, which, however, in its present known form is a mixture of papyri referring both to the dekd and the seemingly dead—the initiated—and is hence somewhat confusing. That it belonged, in its earliest, original and untampered form, to the Mysteries, is evidenced partly by the passage: "This is a book of exceeding great mystery. Let not the eye of any (profane) man see it—that were an abomination. Conceal its existence. 'The Book of the Master of the Hidden Temple* is its name/1
Hence, in The Book oj the Dead, the deceased person (really the initiate) repeatedly prefaced his own name with the name of Osiris. In the earliest veisions of that ancient text, the deceased says of himself: "I am Osiris. I have come forth as thou, I live as the gods!" thereby vindicating the present interpretation of the dead Osiris really being the seemingly dead entranced initiate.
Thus the triumphant initiate, in the picturesquely vignetted papyrus of Nu, further exclaims:
"I, even I, am Osiris. I have become glorious. I have sat in the birth chamber of Osiris, and I was born with him, and I renew my youth along with him. I have opened the mouth of the gods. I sit upon the place where he sitteth."
And, in other papyri of this ancient Book:
"I raise myself to venerated God, the Master of the Great House."
Such was the instruction received in the Mysteries, an institution so celebrated in antiquity, so disregarded in modernity.